Grilled Vegan Thin-Crust Pizza with Roasted Pepper–Pine Nut Sauce and Charred Eggplant and Zucchini
Recipe and photo by Tami Ganeles Weiser
very thin 11- to 12-inch pies
Prep Time: 45 minutes Resting and Rising Time: 2 hours Cook Time: 12 minutes
This grilled vegan pizza is so packed with the flavors of Spain that you will never miss the cheese. Make sure to roll the dough very thinly—almost like a cracker—and you will be delighted by the textures too. You will need to have a pizza stone or some tiles to make this pie—it’s so thin it would fall through the grates!
1 (¼-ounce/7-gram) packet active dry yeast (about 2¼ teaspoons)
1 teaspoon (4 grams) granulated sugar
1 cup warm water (see Kitchen Tips)
1¼ cups (170 grams) bread flour
1½ cups (195 grams) unbleached, all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 teaspoon (4 grams) kosher salt
About ¼ cup cornmeal for dusting
5 Roasted Red Bell Peppers or jarred, roasted peppers, peeled, seeded, and coarsely chopped
1 head Roasted Garlic
1½ cups toasted pine nuts (see Kitchen Tips)
¼ cup sherry vinegar
Grated zest of 1 lemon
Leaves and stems of ½ small bunch flat-leaf parsley
¾ cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 Japanese eggplants
2 medium zucchini or yellow squash or a combination
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oi
1 teaspoons smoked salt
1 teaspoon smoked sweet paprika
2 teaspoons smoked olive oil or extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
- Make the dough: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, dissolve the yeast and sugar in the warm water. Let stand for 8 minutes, or until foamy.
- Add 1 cup of the bread flour, 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, and salt. Mix at low speed until combined, and add the remaining bread flour and all but 2 tablespoons of the all-purpose flour. Process for 30 seconds, and then add the rest if needed, until the top part of the dough just begins to pull away from the side of the bowl. It will be a sticky dough. If there is any excess flour, save it for kneading .
- Knead the dough for another 4 to 6 minutes, until it forms a smooth ball. Transfer to a large bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Place the bowl in a warm spot and let the dough rise for about 1½ hours, until it has doubled in size. (Or, if you wish, let it rise slowly, covered well, in the refrigerator, overnight or for up to 4 days, but allow about 30 minutes for the dough to come back to room temperature before you shape it.)
- When you are ready to grill, flour a work surface and a kitchen towel lightly. Gently turn the dough out onto the work surface, punch it down, shape it into a small ball, cover with the floured kitchen towel, and set aside to rest for 20 to 25 minutes.
- Meanwhile, preheat the grill to high.
- Make the sauce: In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade, combine the roasted red peppers, roasted garlic, and toasted pine nuts. Turn the processor on, and add the vinegar through the feed tube. Drizzle in the oil, stopping the machine to scrape down the side of the processor as necessary, and process until the oil is incorporated and the sauce is a spreadable purée with a few chunks.
- Grill the vegetables: Brush the whole eggplant and zucchini lightly with oil and sprinkle with salt and paprika. When the grill is crazy hot, place the vegetables on it, as close to the heat source as possible, and grill for 1 to 2 minutes on each side, until the skin is charred. Remove from the grill, place on a platter, and let cool until they are cool enough to handle. The vegetables should not be cooked through, but the skin should be darkened and charred.
- Put the pizza stone on the grill and preheat.
- When the dough has rested, lightly flour a work surface and place the dough on it. Cut it into 3 even pieces. Cover 2 of the pieces with plastic wrap. With a lightly floured rolling pin, pull and roll the remaining piece into a round(ish) pizza crust that is about 11 inches in diameter and about ¼ inch thick. Keep moving it around, in quarter turns, as you roll and stretch to make sure it is not sticking. (If you work with it too long and it starts pulling back into a smaller, thicker round, kind of like an elastic band that has been stretched too far, flip a bowl upside down over the dough or cover it with a floured kitchen towel, and let it rest for 5 to 8 minutes to allow the glutens to relax again.)
- Sprinkle the cornmeal evenly over a pizza peel or a single-edged baking sheet to prevent the dough from sticking and place it on the prepared pizza peel or baking sheet. Brush the perimeter of the crust with 1 tablespoon oil.
- Scoop about ¼ cup of the red pepper sauce into the center of the crust and spread it evenly over the surface, leaving about 1-inch bare all around the outer edge.
- Trim the ends from the par-cooked, cooled eggplant and zucchini. Slice the cooled vegetables into ⅛- to ¼-inch rounds or long strips and arrange them evenly over the top of the pizza. Drizzle with the smoked olive oil. Make sure the pizza crust will move by giving it a gentle shake, and if it doesn’t slide, throw a small handful of cornmeal under the part that sticks.
- Slide the pizza onto the hot pizza stone. Grill for about 8 to 10 minutes, until the sauce is bubbly and the crust is a a deep golden color. Repeat the process with remaining 2 pieces of pizza dough to make the next pizzas, one at a time.
- Yeast is a little living creature, and it needs special handling. You need warm water to activate it—between 85° and 100°F—but if the water is too warm, you’ll kill it and it simply won’t work at all.
- To roast pine nuts, try The Weiser Kitchen’s Roasted Nuts recipe.